Trial begins in Grass Valley attempted murder by hammer case |

Trial begins in Grass Valley attempted murder by hammer case

The trial charging a Grass Valley man with the 2012 attempted murder of his aunt and uncle began Tuesday with jury selections and instructions.

Opening statements are scheduled for 9 a.m. today.

Eric Hodges, 37, stands trial for allegedly breaking into the residence of his aunt and uncle on Maiden Lane the afternoon of Nov. 30, 2012, and attacking them with a hammer.

Hodges is charged with two counts of attempted murder and making a criminal threat in connection with the case.

At a preliminary hearing last year, police testified that Hodges reportedly attacked the couple with a hammer, hitting his uncle in the back of the head several times with the claw end of the hammer, leaving him with lacerations to the face, head and arms.

According to police, Hodges also hit his aunt several times in the face as she pleaded for him to stop and then threatened to kill her.

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Police testified that Hodges' aunt required 280 stitches due to facial injuries, which included fractures to her face and broken bones in her hands, and left wrist.

After the attack, police said, Hodges fled the scene in a vehicle. He was arrested that same day near the corner of Richardson Street and Main Street in Grass Valley during a traffic stop.

Police believe the attack was premeditated and related to potential abuse dating back to Hodge's childhood, though it is not clear how the alleged victims in the case are related to the past abuse.

Presiding over the trial Tuesday, Judge Sean P. Dowling gave the 13 selected jurors instructions around 4 p.m..

The defendant's mother, Deborah Hodges, told The Union Tuesday that she has faith in her son's attorney, Larry Montgomery, and that "God's on his side.

"I believe Eric will get a fair trial," Deborah Hodges said. "I'm proud of Eric. Sometimes we walk into situations we shouldn't be in, and I know that's what happened."

Doug Hodges, Eric Hodges' father, said of his son, "I know he's innocent."

Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson and Montgomery will give opening statements this morning.

The alleged victims in the case were not present in court Tuesday but are scheduled to testify before the jury this morning.

The trial is scheduled to be completed by April 3.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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